No Room for Misunderstanding

Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that he expects every commander to contribute to efforts to reduce sexual assaults in the Air Force. “If they don’t get actively engaged, I consider them part of the problem,” said Welsh at the Jan. 23 hearing, during which he testified alongside Air Education and Training Command boss Gen. Ed Rice. Welsh said he met with all Air Force four-star generals in early October “to ensure they knew exactly how I felt about this subject.” He also directed all of the service’s 164 wing commanders to meet in Washington, D.C., in late November to discuss the issue face-to-face. “There’s simply no room for misunderstanding as we move forward from here,” said Welsh. There are more than 3,100 volunteer victim advocates in the Air Force. In addition, 24 special investigators specifically trained in sexual misconduct cases have recently finished training and an additional 60 Air Force attorneys have been trained as Special Victims’ Counsel under a new program that will go into effect on Jan. 28, he said. “We will never slow down our efforts to ensure our victims receive the best, most capable, and most thoughtful care and advice possible until we can eliminate the problem,” said Welsh. (Welsh’s prepared testimony)